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2 Bodies for the Price of 1 (Body Movers Series #2)
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2 Bodies for the Price of 1 (Body Movers Series #2)

4.4 48
by Stephanie Bond
 

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With fugitive parents, a brother dodging loan sharks, a hunky cop who's made her outlaw family his business, a buff body mover looking to make a move on her and her ex-fiancé back in the picture, Carlotta Wren thought her life couldn't get any more complicated. And then…

Her best friend jumps on the body-moving bandwagon.

Her fugitive parents phone

Overview

With fugitive parents, a brother dodging loan sharks, a hunky cop who's made her outlaw family his business, a buff body mover looking to make a move on her and her ex-fiancé back in the picture, Carlotta Wren thought her life couldn't get any more complicated. And then…

Her best friend jumps on the body-moving bandwagon.

Her fugitive parents phone home.

Her identity is stolen by a look-alike.

Her look-alike is found, well…dead.

Under suspicion for murder, Carlotta discovers that her devious double might've been bumped off accidentally—and that she could be the real target! Throw in dealing with her motley crew of family, friends and wannabe lovers, and Carlotta begins to think that jail isn't such a bad alternative after all.…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Bond's charming new Carlotta Wren mystery (after 2006's Body Movers) has all the ingredients for a chic sleuth-a-thon, from identity theft and designer clothes to dead bodies and poker. Rich girl-turned-Neiman's shop girl Carlotta was left at 18 to raise her 10-year-old brother, Wesley, after their parents, Randolph and Valerie, skipped town to avoid investment fraud charges. Ten years later, snarky Atlanta DA Kelvin Lucas has reopened the case. Grouchy love interest Det. Jack Terry wants information that Carlotta's afraid to divulge. Randolph makes a mysterious call to Carlotta and also gets in touch with Peter Ashford, her attentive ex-fiancé. Wesley, an oddly likable slacker and compulsive gambler, believes in their dad's innocence, but Carlotta's not so sure. When a woman with Carlotta's car and I.D. apparently kills herself, Lucas requests a fake funeral to lure her parents back. Bond keeps the pace frantic, the plot tight and the laughs light, and supplies a cliffhanger ending that's a bargain at twice the price. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780778326069
Publisher:
MIRA
Publication date:
07/01/2008
Series:
Body Movers Series , #2
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
4.00(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

"Sweetheart, it's me…Daddy."

Carlotta Wren stepped off the up escalator in the Atlanta Neiman Marcus department store where she worked, so shocked by the sound of the voice on the other end that she dropped her cell phone. It landed on the shiny, waxed f loor with a smack, bounced and skidded away. With her heart in her stomach, she frantically scrambled after the f leeing phone, the baritone of her long-lost fugitive father ringing in her ears.

Was it really him calling after ten years of silence? Ten years during which she'd put her life on hold to finish raising herself and her younger brother Wesley after her parents had skipped bail—and town—on investment fraud charges. Ten years of feeling alone and abandoned after her friends and even her f iancé had withdrawn their affection in light of the scandal.

The tiny phone spun away like a mouse scurrying for cover. Carlotta gulped air as she clambered after it, brushing the shoulders of people in her path, darting between racks of clothing. The foot of a striding customer struck the phone and sent it spinning in another direction. Carlotta hurtled after it, feeling her father slip farther from her grasp with every agonizing second that passed. She was practically hyperventilating when she fell to her knees, curled her f ingers around the elusive phone and jammed it to her ear. "Hello? Daddy?"

Dead air. If it had been Randolph Wren on the other end of the line, he was gone.

A sob welled up in her chest. "Daddy, can you hear me?"

She couldn't bring herself to hang up, unwilling to sever the only connection she'd had with her father in over a decade. Then she realized that he might be trying to call her back and stabbed the disconnect button. Sitting under a rack of beaded bathing-suit sarongs, Carlotta stared at the phone, willing it to ring again, thinking how ridiculous she would seem to an onlooker—an almost thirty-year-old woman sitting on the f loor waiting for a call back from her long-lost daddy.

Somewhere between her nonexistent career goals, her brother's legal problems, their hulking debt to loan sharks and her confused love life, she'd made the transition from pitiful to pathetic.

Suddenly she remembered the callback feature and realized with a surge of excitement that she'd at least be able to see what number he'd called from. She stabbed at buttons on the phone, but was rewarded with a rather sick-sounding tone and noticed with dismay that the display was interrupted by a hairline crack. Liquid gathered in one corner, much like when Wesley had broken his Etch-a-Sketch when he was little.

"You can't be broken," Carlotta pleaded, blinking back tears. What would she tell Wesley? That their father had f inally made contact and she'd hung up on him? Wesley still believed that their father was innocent and that he and their mother would return some day to clear his name and unite their shattered family. Carlotta felt less forgiving, especially toward her mother Valerie, who hadn't been charged with a crime, yet had chosen a life on the lam over her own children.

"Ring," she whispered, hoping that only the display had been compromised. She sat on her heels for f ive long minutes, her thumb hovering over the answer button, perspiration wetting her forehead. A shadow fell over her. When she looked up, she winced inwardly to see the general manager, Lindy Russell, standing with her eyebrows raised.

Minus ten points.

Next to Lindy stood a tall, narrow blonde, conservatively coiffed down to her upper class hair f lip and wearing a haughty expression. Carlotta recognized her from sales meetings; she was new and worked in accessories next to the shoe department where Carlotta's friend Michael Lane worked. Patricia somebody or another.

"Carlotta, is there a problem?" Lindy asked.

Carlotta pushed to her feet and straightened her clothing. During the dash for her phone she'd lost a shoe. "No."

"Glad to hear it. You know you're not supposed to be using your cell phone while you're working the f loor."

"Yes," Carlotta said, her throat closing. "But this is a— an emergency."

"Oh?" Lindy crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Are you on an organ-donor list?"

"No."

"The phone-a-friend for a contestant on a national trivia show?"

"No."

"Waiting to hear back from your next employer?"

Patricia snickered and Carlotta swallowed. "N-no."

Lindy extended her hand. "Hand it over. You can pick it up at the end of your shift."

"But—"

"No buts, Carlotta. You're already skating on thin ice around here."

Carlotta bit her tongue. Lindy had been more than fair to give her a get-out-of-jail-free card for buying clothes on her employee discount, wearing them to crash upscale parties, then returning the fancy outfits for full credit. Ditto when she had been involved in a knock-down drag-out fight with a customer right here in the store—and been implicated in that customer's subsequent murder. That particular misunderstanding had since been cleared up, but Carlotta's once-stellar sales record had slipped badly in the interim. It hadn't helped that the murdered woman had been a high-volume customer.

She was lucky that she hadn't been canned weeks ago, and since she and Wesley depended on her paycheck for little things like paying the mortgage…with a shaky smile, she handed the phone to Lindy.

"Carlotta, have you met Patricia Alexander?"

"Not formally." She extended her hand to the blonde. "Hello."

The woman's hand was just as cold as her smile. "Hello."

"Patricia is number one in sales this week," Lindy said.

"Congratulations," Carlotta murmured, stinging with the knowledge that not too long ago, she had owned that number one spot.

"Thanks," Patricia said, then laughed—a sound that reminded Carlotta of a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. "No hard feelings, I hope."

"Why should there be?"

The woman angled her head. "Because I plan to break your sales record. Better watch your back." Her frosty smile didn't match her breezy tone.

Lindy gave Carlotta a pointed look, then dropped the phone into her jacket pocket. Carlotta watched the women walk away, along with all hopes of talking to her father today.

Had it really been him? And if so, would he think she'd hung up on him purposely, that she didn't want to talk to him? Worrying her lower lip, she wondered—did she?

If anyone had asked what she would do if her father called out of the blue, Carlotta would've sworn that she would hang up on him. Over the years her anger had grown into an almost tangible mass, like a tumor. Yet at the sound of his voice, she had regressed to Daddy's little girl—the entitled, spoiled teenager she'd been when he'd disappeared, the naive, young woman who couldn't conceive that her parents would desert her and her nine-year-old brother. With a mere four words uttered from his mouth, she'd been ready to accept his explanation and his apology…as-suming he'd had either to offer.

She covered her mouth to suppress the aching wail that lodged in her throat. Knowing that her father still had that much power over her made her feel even less in control than usual. How dare he dive-bomb back into their lives like that?

Perilously close to losing it, Carlotta backtracked to find her shoe, but was blinded by tears of frustration. She wiped at her eyes angrily and swore under her breath.

"Is this what you're looking for?"

She winced, then turned at the unmistakable noise of Detective Jack Terry's voice. She blinked away the moisture to f ind him studying her red Dior stiletto-heel slide with the same intensity that she'd seen him study evidence at crime scenes. Wesley's job as a body mover had thrown her and the detective into close proximity at a couple of crime scenes, with abrasive results. Jack Terry was the one person she didn't want to see right now—the brute had recently reopened her father's case.

"Yes," she snapped, snatching the shoe out of his big hand. "What are you doing here?"

"Irritating you, apparently." Then he suddenly looked sheepish and she realized he was dressed too casually to be on duty. He cleared his throat. "If you must know, I need a monkey suit for a bigwig department dinner and I could use your…uh…help…picking out something."

Her anger receded. He had no idea what had just transpired. And wouldn't know unless she told him…or unless he'd made good on his threat to put a trace on her and Wesley's phones. He wasn't convinced that a handful of postcards was the only contact they'd had with their missing parents.

He gestured over his shoulder. "Maybe I should just go to the place where I usually shop."

"I didn't realize that Dick's Sporting Goods sold formal wear," she said dryly.

"This was a bad idea." He turned to go.

"No, Jack. Wait." He stopped and Carlotta wondered if he realized it was the f irst time she'd called him anything other than Detective Terry—or one of the several unsavory nicknames she had uttered privately. But recently he—and one of her collectible Judith Leiber breastplate necklaces, circa mid-1980s—had saved her from the bullet of a murderer, and in the aftermath, something electric had passed between them. She felt that confusing jolt now, at a loss to explain why she would be attracted to this good old Southern boy who—between arresting her brother for hacking into the Atlanta courthouse records, resurrecting her father's case and grilling her about her customer's murder—seemed to have made her family's lawlessness his pet project.

"What?" His nose f lared and she sensed that he too felt the unwelcome sexual energy bouncing between them.

To break the moment, she narrowed her eyes. "No way are you going to deny me the pleasure of seeing you buttoned into a tux."

Jack frowned. "Sadist."

She smiled and dropped her shoe, trying to compose herself as she pushed her bare foot inside. Her father would call back…of course he would. She wobbled and Jack reached out to steady her.

He gave a little laugh, his gold-colored eyes narrow with sudden concern. "Are you all right? You seem on edge."

Carlotta stared at his big hand on her arm, reminding herself that if Jack Terry appeared concerned for her wellbeing, it was only because he was trying to get on her good side in the hope that she would lead him to her parents.

She pulled away. "I'm f ine, Detective. Follow me."

During the ride down the escalator, Carlotta's neck burned with a fiery itch. She was certain Jack Terry could tell she was keeping something from him.

But the brawny detective appeared preoccupied himself. He wore what she was coming to recognize as his off-duty uniform: black T-shirt, worn jeans and black cowboy boots. And, she conceded begrudgingly, he wore it well. His rugged prof ile, close-cut dark hair and bronze skin made for a compelling view, yet he seemed completely unaware of women's heads turning as they stepped off the escalator and headed toward the men's department.

"So, what's the occasion?" she asked.

"Hmm?"

"The bigwig department dinner."

"Oh. An awards thing."

She lifted an eyebrow as she led him toward the formal wear section. "Are you receiving an award?" The blush that stained his cheeks spoke for him. "You are," she said, elbowing him. "What kind of an award?"

He cleared his throat. "Distinguished duty."

"Distinguished, huh? Did you do something in particular to earn this recognition? Like save a kid from a runaway car?"

"Guess the department couldn't think of anyone else to give it to."

"That must be it," Carlotta agreed, humoring his modesty. She angled her head and swept her gaze over the considerable length of him before pulling a jacket from a sleek wooden rack. "Black would be the obvious choice for a tux, but with your eyes and coloring, I'd go with charcoal gray. What are you, about a forty-four long, athletic cut?"

Jack looked surprised, then nodded. "Hey, I saw you this morning at a bank ATM on Piedmont."

She frowned. "My bank is on Piedmont, but I wasn't there this morning."

"Really? Wow, the woman looked just like you, then." He laughed. "No wonder she didn't wave back when I honked. I thought you were ignoring me."

"Apparently it was someone else ignoring you this time." She held out the jacket for him.

He shrugged into it and she sighed in satisfaction as the luscious fabric slid into place, hugging his shoulders perfectly. She adjusted the lapels, dismayed at the little tremors of pleasure she felt when her hands met the brick wall of his chest. Avoiding his gaze, Carlotta steered him toward a mirror. He looked ill at ease…and slightly gorgeous, she realized with no small amount of consternation. Jack Terry was easier to dislike when he was rumpled and wearing one of his infamous ugly ties.

"What do you think?" She made wary eye contact in the mirror.

"It's okay, I guess."

"Just okay? Jack, this is one of the f inest suits that money can buy."

"I'm almost afraid to look at the price tag."

"Don't," she agreed. "But a suit like this is an investment—you can wear it to formal dinners, to weddings."

"I'm not much on weddings."

"Funerals, then."

"You're not convincing me."

"Look," she said, smoothing a hand over his shoulder, "sometimes you just have to buy something because it looks so damn good on you."

His eyebrows went up and a smile curled his mouth.

"You think it looks damn good on me?"

Her cheeks warmed. "I do."

For a few seconds, that sexy buzzing thing bounced back and forth between them.

"Then I'm convinced," he said finally. "Ring me up."

"You'll need a shirt. And I'll call the tailor to mark your pants."

"I'm in your hands."

Carlotta raised one eyebrow. "Gee, Detective, that almost sounds like trust."

"I trust you—when it comes to clothes."

She recognized the danger of discussing trust while the voice of her fugitive father still resonated in her head, so instead she pulled a smile from thin air. "You should. I promise you'll look so good, no one will recognize you."

He frowned. "Thanks."

"You're welcome."

"How's your brother?" he asked as they walked back to the clothing racks.

"Good," she replied and meant it. "I think Wesley has a crush on his probation off icer."

"At least that'll keep him motivated to check in every week."

"That's what I'm hoping."

"Does he plan to keep working for Cooper Craft?"

She nodded, then sighed. "As gruesome as it sounds, this whole body-moving business seems to agree with him." Then she remembered a phone call she'd gotten from her friend Hannah just before her father had called…if it indeed had been her father. "And now my friend Hannah has jumped on the body-moving bandwagon."

"The girl with the pierced tongue and the dog collar?"

"Yeah. She has a thing for Coop, I think."

"Funny, but I gathered that Coop had a thing for you."

It was her turn to blush. "I hadn't noticed."

A dubious light came into his eyes. "Liar. Women know when men have a thing for them."

Buzz, buzz.

"I'm not interested in Coop," she said quickly. Although the man had saved her when Wesley's six-foot python had cornered her in her bedroom. And she recalled the appreciation in his eyes to f ind her standing on her dresser wearing skimpy lingerie.

"I guess that means you and Ashford are back together," Detective Terry said lightly.

Peter Ashford, her f irst love, the man who had dumped her when her parents had gone missing and the scandal had burst over the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitu-tion. Peter had gone on to marry a debutante—the good customer of Carlotta's who recently had been murdered in their palatial home in Buckhead, the wealthiest area in Atlanta. Many, Jack Terry included, had assumed Peter had killed his wife, but in the end, he'd been exonerated. And had expressed interest in picking up where he and Carlotta had left off years ago.

"No, Peter and I aren't together," she murmured, selecting a cream dress shirt and holding it up in front of him. She could feel the heat emanating from his body.

Meet the Author

Stephanie Bond grew up in eastern Kentucky, but traveled to distant lands through Harlequin romance novels. Years later, the writing bug bit her, and once again she turned to romance. Her writing has allowed her to travel in person to distant lands to teach workshops and promote her novels. She’s written more than forty projects for Harlequin, including a romantic mystery series called Body Movers. To learn more about Stephanie Bond and her novels, visit www.stephaniebond.com.

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2 Bodies for the Price of 1 (Body Movers Series #2) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I accidentally skipped the first book but i loved the book and im hooked in the series.
charisme2003 More than 1 year ago
The best series I have read in a long time.
NurseKelley More than 1 year ago
Great follow-up to the first in the series (Body Movers). Here, Carlotta's love interests become a little more complicated, along with the rest of her life. Someone has assumed her identity, ruined her credit and then turned up dead. Can she use her supposed death to flush her parents out of hiding? Wes continues to make bad decisions. Hannah tries to get Carlotta more involved in the body moving business. The series is heating up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay,I was looking for a book that had something different that was exciting but still had that bit of romance, yesterday I had the whole day to myself so I went to the library and saw this book sitting on the shelf all by itself, amidst all the other dark, dreary 'mystery' book covers. It caught my attention so I picked it up and was intrigued by the title. Once I started I couldn't put it down, I finished it in one day! I can't wait to get the next one, but first I'm going to go get the first one. Stephanie Bond is now my new favorite author, I can't wait to read the entire series.
KeraAnne More than 1 year ago
This book was even better than the first one in the series! Carlotta now has some romantic competition in her life that makes for a very interesting read! I could hardly wait to go buy the third one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually read Western based books, but bought the first in this series, Body Movers, because I needed a book and it was on sale. Luck was on my side that day, I finished it and ran out to by this 2nd book in the series because I HAD to know what was happening. I read this in 2 days and now can NOT wait for the next one. Bond keeps it moving and develops the characters - you feel like you know them. A little sexual tension, a quirky friend whom Carlotta is loyal to some frustration w/ the loving little brother and a knack for attracting trouble make this a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series! A fun & fast read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best mystery series.... I was hooked from the start and couldn't put this book down. I've now finished the series up to book 6 1/2 and waiting patiently for book 7 to come out. I highly recommend this series. Very exciting and keeps you on your toes and WANTING MORE! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The books have a fun premise and are easy to read but my biggest complaint with this whole series is that she retells the stories from the past books over and over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series, but I am ready for it to end!! Ms. Bond is now on her sixth book in this series and I want a conclusion! She is an excellent writer and keeps one involved from beginning to "when-on-earth-will-it-end!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great follow up book to the first one. Great and easy read filled with suspense and action you can't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pattylee More than 1 year ago
I love this series. They go together in threes. If you read Body Movers, you will have to read 2 and 3 to know what happens. 4-6 follow each other as well. Carlotta Wren has joined Eve Dallas and Stephanie Plum as my favorite characters. They read as mysteries rather than romances. I can't wait for the next installments!
LarisaNJ More than 1 year ago
Love the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're up for an escape and a fun mystery, this is it. I've read all four Body Movers books and hope there will be a fifth soon. Three men attractive men and stylish leading lady, who is prone to misadventures, kept me interested and eager to see what would happen next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed the first two books enough i want the next one. Carlotte is a little inmature for her 28 years but it's not bad enough to take away from the book. Her relationship with her brother is great and the slow build of her three suitors is great who will she choose?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
fishJD More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed reading this series. Buy all of them -- one book runs into the other and it's addictive!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago